Skip to comments.Kurdish deputy security chief killed by Ansar al-Islam
Posted on 08/31/2003 6:59:46 PM PDT by Lessismore
SULAIMANIYA, IRAQ, The deputy security chief for the Kurds in the northeastern Iraqi province of Sulaimaniya has been shot dead by Islamic militant group Ansar al-Islam, linked by Washington to al-Qaeda, an official from the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) told AFP Friday.
Sulaimaniya's deputy security chief, Hama Hussein, was shot dead Wednesday afternoon by four Ansar members, as he approached the house where his forces had them surrounded in the middle of the city, the official said.
The militants had agreed to negotiate with Hussein and, as he walked towards the agreed meeting point, he was hit by bullets, the official said.
In the ensuing battle, three Ansar members were killed and one arrested, the official said.
Along the porous border with Iran, Ansar, espousing a puritanical vision of Islamic law, ruled a handful of villages for nearly two years and allegedly struck up ties with the al-Qaeda terror network before being crushed by US special forces at the end of March.
Now five months later, Ansar fighters are believed to have slipped back inside Iraq from Iran, across the mountainous border, posing a threat in the minds of the Americans and the PUK, the party of Jalal Talabani which dominates life in the eastern part of Iraqi Kurdistan.
The country's US civilian administrator, Paul Bremer, has warned repeatedly that hundreds of the group's followers have returned to plot terror attacks around the country.
US officials have also sounded the alarm over militants slipping into the country from Saudi Arabia and Syria.
Since Saddam Hussein was toppled in April, more than 50 Islamists have been arrested in Sulaimaniya on suspicion of coming to Iraq to fight US soldiers, Kurdish officials told AFP on August 17.
They are Kurds, Tunisians and Palestinians, among others, and some have dual citizenship in European countries, the officials said.
Kurdish officials have also blamed Iran for allowing the Ansar fighters to return.
"The Iranians send them across the border to travel to Baghdad, Ramadi and Fallujah," several of the hotspots in the simmering guerrilla-style war between US troops and shadowy insurgents, said Sheikh Mustafa Jaffar, the deputy commander of Kurdish forces in Sulaimaniya.
Once inside Iraq, a network of supporters and Saddam loyalists help smuggle the fighters down to the Kirkuk region in southern Kurdistan and then to central Iraq, so they can join the fight against US forces, he said.
"The detainees say they are going to the south to join their partners," said Sulaimaniya's top security chief Dana Ahmed Majid.
Majid spoke of one of Ansar's old leaders, named Abu Wael, as a key link to Saddam's former Baath regime, identifying him as an intelligence agent for the ousted president originally from Baghdad.
Cowards with no sense of honor -- not that I would expect that from terrorists, but it still disgusts me. They are determined to start a civil war in Iraq. They just want to destroy, destroy, destroy.
Let's deal with "root" causes.
They're just asking for it.
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